HARARE – The decision by the broke government to pay health sector workers their June salaries in July will cripple the health sector, health practitioners warned yesterday.
While the security sector workers will receive their salaries by end of this month, nurses, doctors, as well as other health workers will receive their June salaries mid-July.
Workers in the health sector are not allowed to go on strike, according to their employer, the Health Services Board, as their services are considered to be critical.
However, nurses, through the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) have questioned how government expected them to report for work, when they do not have the money for bus fare.
“We are saddened to note that the government has simply decided to derail the gains we have made since the beginning of the year,” Zina secretary general Enock Dongo said in a statement yesterday.
“We request that our status as an essential service be restored in accordance with the Constitution. The health sector together with the security services sector have been in the same bracket since the beginning of the year and all of a sudden that status has been revoked without notice.”
He asked how government expected nurses to take care of patients when they themselves are downtrodden.
“On the background of no salary to meet these daily basic needs, it defies all logic to any reasoning noble Zimbabwean to expect a physically, psychologically, socially, financially and morally traumatised nurse who is dirty and hungry to walk to work and carry out his or her duties perfectly. The nurse won’t be in a stable state and this will compromise the care given to the patients. Instead, the nurse will be a hazard to the clients and self. Government should think seriously on the health of the nation.”
Dongo said nurses were oversubscribed with debts which need servicing to avoid penalties.
“This has long been budgeted for up to the next pay day, which has been shifted further beyond the nurse’s survival on the sickening paltry salary. It is regrettable that the hard working patriotic nurse at work, mother or father at home or bread winner with children to feed, clothe, send to school will fail to carry out his or her duties due to this unforeseen circumstances far beyond his or her control.
The question to be answered by the government is how the nurses are going to meet their obligations beyond the June payday,” Dongo said.
According to Friday’s communiqué, the Zimbabwe National Army and Air Force of Zimbabwe will get their salaries on June 27, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services on June 30 and teachers on July 7.
The health sector and the rest of the civil service will only get their salaries deep into the next month on July 14 –while pensioners will have to wait as far as July 19 for their June pensions.